Home away from home

Students make commitments to their future

Senior Jadin Benge holds up the announcement telling her she got into Purdue University.

Photo contributed by Jadin Benge

Senior Jadin Benge holds up the announcement telling her she got into Purdue University.

Haley Miller, Reporter

Visiting Purdue University was not at the top of senior Jadin Benge’s priority list. Although she had scheduled a visit, she didn’t want to miss school and the tests she had that day. However, once she stepped onto Purdue’s campus, she knew it was the place for her.

“When I went to Purdue, it just felt right,” Benge said. “That sounds so weird, but when you’re looking at colleges, there will just be one that you can really picture yourself at. It’ll just be like home.”

Benge was accepted to Purdue in January. When she first started the college search, though, she had “no clue” which school she wanted to attend. There were many different factors to consider, and other SHS students can face similar problems when choosing a college. The wide range of options can make it difficult to decide, but there are specific strategies students can implement and factors they can look for to help them make the right choice.

Brenda Bassi, Academic Success Associate at the University of Indianapolis, says there are a number of qualities that students should consider when finding a college. These include a college’s academic programs, location, reputation, affordability, size, resources and activities. If everything else is positive, she says, money often becomes the deciding factor, but students should keep in mind that financial aid is available.

“Some assume that if a school isn’t public or state they can’t afford to go there,” Bassi said, “but a lot of times the student can receive more in financial aid by going to a private school because the government does look at the cost of attending.”

Bassi says it is important to visit the college so students can get a feel for the environment. Counseling Director Julie Fierce shares this view, adding that nothing can take the place of physically being on the campus. According to her, a visit is a very easy thing to set up. Students can visit the website of the college they are interested in and schedule a time.

For those who don’t know where to begin with finding a college, Fierce recommends taking interest surveys online and participating in the program Naviance, which will be available in iPass sessions beginning Tuesday, March 13. This online program, which educates students about post-secondary options and planning, will help students discover and learn about their interests, according to Fierce.

Above all, Fierce says the most important thing for students to consider when choosing a college is whether or not they will be comfortable at the school.

“You have to remember that you will be living there,” Fierce said. “That will be your home. It gets hard.”

The University of Louisville will be sophomore Vanessa Miller’s home, and she gets butterflies whenever she thinks about it. She committed on April 23, 2017. The thought of going there to “live out” her dream of playing college softball makes her very excited and thankful for the opportunity.

Miller suggests that other students looking for colleges should go on visits and see many different schools before deciding. However, she says they should also trust their gut. She had a feeling similar to Benge’s at Purdue University when she visited the University of Louisville for the first time.

“You never know what college is going to best fit you,” Miller said. “I never knew about Louisville, and I went down there and fell in love.”